Wednesday 23 December 2020

Book Review of 'The Thousand Faces of Night' by Githa Hariharan

I have been wanting to read this author's novel ever since I read one of her short stories, 'Gajar Halwa', a touching tale of Perumayee, a child from Salem who is sent to Delhi to slog as a maid. I finally found her book at a store and wasted no time in adding it to my shelf, last week.

Any award-winning book is different from the rest, as we all are well aware. The Thousand Faces is no exception. The language is top notch. The vocabulary is rich and poetic. The whole treatment of the book is different, especially the structure and narrative. The interspersing of mythical tales to coincide with the modern realities of women is a classic touch of history repeating itself, beyond the centuries of time.

One realises at once that the characterization is double layered. The paragraphs alternate between what is apparent on the outside and what is happening on the inside. The vivid imagery of the character's actions is juxtaposed with the deep musings, reminiscences and battles going on in the psyche of the character. It sure is an interesting area of exploration for writers.

The storyline is basic, but the layers are multiple. The narrative delves into each of the women characters and traces their lives, past and present. What stands out is the brutality of a superstitious and brutal society. 

The best part of the novel is that the sheer inner strength of the women affirms itself, despite their mute acceptance or blatant recalcitrance. Be it the fiesty Devi, the strong Sita or the survivor Mayamma, each of the women have their own presence etched out with clarity to blend into the storyline.

Readers accustomed to easy language and straightforward narratives may find it hard to adapt to this style of storytelling. The mythological stories narrated by the grandmother, with the insistent questions of the child are interesting and entertaining. Some of the answers of the grandmother are hard-hitting in their innate truth, in relation to the society women live in.

Overall, an enlightening book. I rate it a 4.1 out of 5. 

Was my review useful? Let me know in your comments.

Happy reading, readers.


No comments:

Post a Comment